The Telegraph
Saturday , March 22 , 2014
CIMA Gallary

‘Captain Dhoni was on the top of his game’

- Raina started playing more freely in Virat’s company: Sunny

Calcutta: Accurate bowling and intelligent batting were highlights of India’s seven-wicket victory over Pakistan in their World T20 opener, in Mirpur, on Friday. But more than that, Sunil Gavaskar gave credit to captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni for the good show.

“Dhoni was on top of his game … The bowling changes that he made were definitely by design and he was in control. He looks refreshed after the break that he had. It can happen… Captaincy can take a lot out of you, and if you get a break, you come back that much better. I think we are seeing signs of that,” Gavaskar said during a programme in a television channel.

Virat Kohli and Suresh Raina ensured that India chased the target without much trouble. The former India captain praised both. “Virat has been great. He has played well all over the world. Every team that he has played against, he has scored big runs.

He is a positive player and he has a positive effect on the player at the other end. He makes the other player play more freely. He is also electric between the wickets and makes the other person run fast as well,” Gavaskar said.

“The other person with him today was Raina, who too, like Virat, thrives on confidence. Even through Raina came in before Virat, he started playing more freely in Virat’s company and eventually it was a cakewalk,” he added.

Gavaskar, however, said it is too early to decide whether Raina has changed his approach towards playing short-pitched deliveries.

“I don’t think there is a huge change in Raina’s approach towards short bowling because, here in Dhaka, short-pitched stuff doesn’t go over the shoulders.

“So there’s nothing as such to suggest that he has improved approach towards short-pitched balls. We will have to wait till he goes somewhere where the ball bounces over the shoulder,” he said.

Gavaskar was not very happy with India’s death bowling. “I don’t think there’s been a great improvement in India’s death bowling. Even today, Mohammed Shami conceded the most expensive over in the death... The final over of the innings.

“There are still a lot of areas that need to be addressed. They are still bowling length balls, which are being carted away for runs. They are not trying the yorkers often… I think, there’s a fair bit to go,” he said.

Leggie Amit Mishra, however, earned praise. “I am not at all surprised by Mishra’s impressive performance in only his second T20 International.

“As a leg-spinner, once you realise that the captain has faith in you and is going to give you a long spell and the field you want, you start bowling well.

“One can say that he should have played more than two T20s. But then again, India have played hardly two T20s in the last one year, and one of them has been overseas.

And we know that overseas, India prefer three seamers and two spinners, who are Ravindra Jadeja and Ravichandran Ashwin, because they are also handy with the bat,” he said.